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  • Game Changer: Sports in the Pandemic Era

Game Changer: Sports in the Pandemic Era

  • June 18, 2020
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • 409


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Thursday, June 18, 7-8 PM EDT

Many sports fans and players recall the emotional return to the playing fields following 9/11. Sports provided a means of coming together to grieve and honor our losses. Now, with so much loss and anxiety in the world, COVID-19 has prevented sports at every level, from youth sports to college to the pros. The impacts range from postponements to cancellations and in some colleges, even eliminating some sports programs. Everyone connected to sporting events is being affected economically and personally, from the “front office” managers, to the players and team staff, and perhaps most troubling, to the vendors and many other essential workers who support events. At every level contingency plans have been drawn up but no one really knows how and when sports will return to our daily life. Can sports provide some sense of community and solace in these times? Will sports return to a pre-pandemic "normal?" Along with our moderator, our panelists will examine these impacts and questions for youth sports, collegiate sports, and minor and major league baseball.  


Kathy Delaney-Smith is entering her 39th season in 2020-21 as the winningest head coach in Ivy League history, The Friends of Harvard Women's Basketball Head Coach. Delaney-Smith has put Harvard basketball on the map both nationally and internationally. Delaney-Smith is one of the longest tenured coaches in collegiate women’s basketball and owns a 38-year coaching record at Harvard of 617-420 with a 360-159 record in Ivy League play. Those achievements include 12 20-win seasons, 11 Ivy titles, a .500 record or better in 31 of the last 32 campaigns and 15 postseason appearances. Delaney-Smith’s involvement in the game on the national level has afforded her the opportunity to coach for USA Basketball three times in her career, including the honor of serving as the head coach of the contingent that won gold at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey in the summer of 2005. Delaney Smith has received numerous accolades throughout her coaching career, including being inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and the first woman inducted into the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Delaney-Smith has been recognized by the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union as a “woman who has inspired other women, and has contributed to the quality of life for women and their families.”

Dick Friedman is a former editor and writer at Sports Illustrated, where he covered pro and college basketball, baseball and golf, and directed the magazine's opening Scorecard section. Since 2014 he has been a contributing editor at Harvard Magazine covering Crimson football. He is the author of "The Coach Who Strangled the Bulldog: How Harvard's Percy Haughton Beat Yale and Reinvented Football," which chronicles the immortal Crimson teams of the pre-World War I era.

Tom Volpe is an investment banker and venture capitalist, and has found a thriving second career in his first love: baseball. Volpe is the owner of three minor-league clubs--the Stockton (CA) Ports, the Delmarva (MD) Shorebirds and the Everett (WA) Aquasox. He also sits on the Board of Minor League Baseball. Tom attends Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings and keeps busy on a variety of committees that currently are finding ways to play ball again.

Rick Wolff is a nationally recognized expert in the field of sports psychology and sports parenting. For the last 23 years he has hosted the award winning, highly popular weekly sports parenting program, “The Sports Edge,”on WFAN Sports Radio in New York City. He has been a featured expert on every major television network and has even appeared as the featured guest on Oprah for a full hour discussing sports parenting issues. A former professional baseball player in the Detroit Tigers’ organization, Wolff was hired as the first sports psychology coach in the Cleveland Indians organization from 1989-94. He also served as the head baseball coach at Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, NY). Wolff has authored or co-authored 20 books and has written hundreds of widely acclaimed prescriptive columns on sports parenting for Sports Illustrated. He is a longtime member of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sports Psychology.

Please visit the ClassACT COVID-19 page to access information and videos on our previous Zoom Forums:

1. The COVID-19 Pandemic

2. Voter Suppression and the Effect of COVID-19 on Voting Rights

3. Why am I so Cranky, Sad, and Worried? Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19

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